There are two parts of a semi-truck. The front portion or the cab houses the engine and the passenger compartment. The trailer holds the cargo. The national weight standards for a semi-truck states that the gross vehicle weight can be up to 80,000 pounds when the truck is fully loaded. 

The engine of an 18-wheeler is six times the size of the average passenger vehicle. The cab of a semi-truck can weigh between 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. The trailer weighs about 10,000 pounds. Therefore, an unloaded big rig can weigh roughly 40,000 pounds.

When you consider that a passenger vehicle weighs an average of 4,000 to 6,000 pounds, it is easy to understand why accidents involving semi-trucks are so dangerous for passengers of other vehicles. Passengers in other vehicles sustain about three-fourths of the fatalities and injuries in large truck accidents each year. 

What Are Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?

Because a semi-truck can be a deadly weapon on the road, it is crucial that all parties involved in the trucking industry take steps to reduce the risk of truck accidents. Unfortunately, profits and negligence are often the root causes of truck accidents.

Trucking companies aggressively push drivers to deliver loads within unrealistic deadlines. Truck drivers respond to this pressure by taking chances on the road. They exceed safe speed limits and drive when they are tired or drowsy, which increases the risk of a truck accident.

Trucking companies may also cut corners to save money. They hire inexperienced truck drivers and fail to maintain trucks adequately. The result can be a deadly truck accident. 

Negligence is another cause of many large truck accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and distracting driving are two common causes of truck crashes. Failing to obey traffic laws, reckless driving, and aggressive driving are other common causes of semi-truck accidents.

Some truck accidents may involve mechanical failures, such as tire blowouts or faulty brakes. In addition, improperly loaded cargos and overloaded trucks also contributed to the cause of some truck crashes. 

Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by a Semi-Truck Accident?

One or more of the above elements or other elements may contribute to a truck accident. Therefore, identifying each of the factors contributing to the crash is crucial in a truck accident investigation. The parties responsible for those factors can be held liable for damages caused by the truck accident.

Parties that may be liable when innocent victims are injured and killed because of a large truck crash include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Loading companies and shippers
  • Truck maintenance and repair shops
  • Manufacturers of trucks and parts
  • Government entities (road conditions)
  • Other motorists

An experienced and skilled Baltimore truck accident attorney conducts a thorough accident investigation to identify all parties who might have liability for damages.

What Damages Can I Recover for a Truck Accident Case?

The types of damages from a large truck accident can be significant. Many accident victims sustain catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. The medical expenses alone can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

If you were injured in a semi-truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills and costs of personal care
  • Lost income and benefits, including future lost wages and decreased earning potential
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Disability and permanent impairments
  • Mental trauma and emotional distress
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Psychological injuries, including depression and PTSD
  • Decreased quality of life or loss of enjoyment of life

In the event of a fatality, the family members may be entitled to compensation for a wrongful death claim. The value of any truck accident claim depends on the facts of the case. A truck accident lawyer can give you more information about the value of your personal injury claim for a truck accident case.

What Should You Do After a Semi-Truck Crash?

Catastrophic and severe injuries generally prohibit a truck accident victim from documenting the accident scene by taking photographs or gathering eyewitness information. Furthermore, it can be extremely dangerous to move around a truck accident scene because there could be a chance of fires and explosions.

Victims need to call 911 to report the crash and request emergency medical services. Immediate medical treatment is crucial. The primary focus should be on your health and treatment for your injuries.

As soon as possible, contact a truck accident lawyer for help. The insurance company or the trucking company may contact you after the accident. Do not make any statements or sign any documents without speaking with a lawyer. 

Remember, these parties have their best interests as their priority. Let an attorney who has your best interest at heart take care of these matters for you while you focus on healing from your injuries.